Whispers on the Air, the Storms to Come

Commission for the deCordova Museum and Sculpture Park
Temporary Installation / Summer  2016

In this piece, two very discreet–nearly invisible–wireless speakers placed far overhead play back the sound of an approaching thunderstorm. The position of the speakers will draw the gaze of the viewer upwards, as they attempt to locate or visually confirm, the source of the sound. However, when they look upwards, the gaze will be met not with incoming clouds, but only the forest canopy.

An invisible thunderstorm has a ghostly quality and invokes the vastness invisibility implies. Because neither its presence nor its absence can be confirmed visually, it remains somehow ‘unreal’. Unseen, this soundscape portends future storms that are not-as-yet present, evoking the extreme global weather anticipated as the temperature of the planet rises. The disconnection between the source of the sounds and their effect mirrors the disconnection between our own actions and their eventual impact on both the environment, and ultimately, us.